After weeks of speculation, it has been confirmed five Jetstar Boeing 787-8s will come out of storage and resume flying. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce ticked off the widebody planes returning to Jetstar’s active fleet during a market update on Thursday. There is a minor point of difference, though. Instead of flying Jetstar’s international routes, the Dreamliners are going to stick to Australian domestic routes temporarily.
“Jetstar also expects to deploy up to five of its Boeing 787-8 aircraft, usually flown on international routes, in the domestic market from mid-year until international flying returns,” said Qantas in a statement. Jetstar is Qantas’ wholly owned low-cost subsidiary airline.
“These 335-seat aircraft will initially be flown between Melbourne/Sydney-Gold Coast and Melbourne/Sydney-Cairns.”
Dreamliners out of storage, crews back to work
Jetstar has a fleet of 11 Boeing 787-8s. With the Qantas Group largely suspending its international services, Jetstar’s Dreamliners have been in storage. Most have done their time at the long-term storage facility at Alice Springs Airport.
But with domestic travel rebounding fast in Australia and Jetstar keen to get as many of its workers back to work as possible, putting the Dreamliners onto domestic routes adds capacity and gets Jetstar crews who usually work on international routes back in the air.
“The increased domestic flying and resumption of flights across the Tasman are also helping get more of our people back to work,” says Alan Joyce.
A nice alternative to pokier Boeing & Airbus aircraft
To an extent, it is back to business as usual for Jetstar. Before the travel downturn, passengers with a keen eye for operating aircraft types could usually snag a Jetstar Dreamliner flight on routes to the Gold Coast and Cairns. They typically operated as domestic tag flights on international services and offered a far roomier flying experience than Jetstar’s A320 aircraft.
Prviously, those domestic tag flights arrived and departed from international terminals. So passengers with the shiniest Qantas frequent flyer cards could book a $50 Dreamliner flight to the Gold Coast and pre-empt that flight with a couple of hours prowling the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney or Melbourne.
It is sad, but that little lurk will not be happening this time around. These flights will depart from domestic terminals, so the departure process is a less glamorous affair.
Dreamliner flights spied in schedules from early July
Qantas didn’t disclose a start date for the 787-8 services during Thursday’s update, only saying flights were on sale and would commence mid-year. But Simple Flying has spied them scattered around the Jetstar schedules from July 1.
On the routes between Sydney/Melbourne and Cairns, Jetstar’s Dreamliners will complement the Qantas A330s already plying the sector. However, Jetstar’s 787-8 Star Class (akin to international grade premium economy) isn’t as flash as the Business Suites on Qantas A330s. On the flip side, they also cost a lot less. Jetstar’s Dreamliners will be the only widebody passenger aircraft flying into the Gold Coast, with Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Regional Express sticking with the Boeing 737-800 on their Gold Coast routes.
Do you think we will see Jetstar’s Dreamliners fly anywhere else other than Cairns and the Gold Coast? Post a comment and let us know.